Guam and Marianas: Go Independent


The Southern Marianas, whose population of 173,450 is mostly on the island of Guam; and the Northern Marianas, whose 88,662 mainly live on the island of Saipan, are two Pacific U.S. Territories, roughly 6,175 miles from San Diego, that should be consolidated and granted independence.

The Spaniards first sent explorers to the Marianas in 1521. Following the Spanish-American War (1898), Spain surrendered the Southern Marianas (Guam) to the U.S., under the Sixth Treaty of Paris (1898), and sold the Northern Marianas to Germany.

After Germany surrendered in WWI, the Northern Marianas were transferred to Japan, under a League of Nations Mandate (1920). The Japanese then used the Northern islands in WWII as a base in 1941 to invade and occupy the U.S. Southern Marianas (Guam). In 1944, Americans defeated Japanese troops in a bloody battle at Saipan, as they seized the Northern Marians, and retook Guam.

The Americans subsequently governed the Northern Marianas under a UN Trust, through 1978, when a U.S. Commonwealth was created. Meanwhile, Guam received a limited form of U.S. Citizenship in 1950, which denied them a vote for U.S. President, but gave them a Congressional Representative (since 1972), who can participates in committee, but not on the House floor.

The idea of independence should not be alarming as it would not change their military relationship with the U.S., since Guam will most certainly want to lease land for U.S. Air Force and Navy bases, as their economy heavily depends on it. Guam’s population is slated to increase through 2015, when 8,000 U.S. Marines and 10,000 dependents, currently at Okinawa, are scheduled to arrive.

It is time to end our quasi-colonial arrangement, and for the Marianas to stand up on their own. Since they are never going to become a U.S. State, they should now be granted independence.

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